PLG for Enterprise: Best Practices for Scalable Business Growth

PLG for Enterprise: Best Practices for Scalable Business Growth cover

PLG for enterprise? Is this even possible to make it work?

This is the main question that the article tackles.

We look at how you can combine the two seemingly incompatible worlds and examine examples of companies that have managed to achieve this.

Let’s get right to it!


What is product-led growth for enterprise customers?

Product-led growth (PLG) for enterprise customers is a business strategy that focuses on using the product itself as the main driver of customer acquisition, retention, and expansion within the enterprise software market.

The approach is characterized by user-centric product design that enables users to realize the product value with minimum friction. This translates into increased customer satisfaction leading to higher retention and customer lifetime value.

Product-led growth allows quick and sustainable growth and is aligned with the trend to empower end-users within enterprise organizations to try, buy, and expand their product usage independently.

Product-led growth strategy vs. sales-led growth strategy for enterprise

Sales-led growth and product-led growth are 2 different approaches to customer acquisition and product expansion.

In the traditional sales-led approach, it’s the enterprise sales team that nurtures potential buyers and eventually closes the deals.

In contrast, product-led companies aim to reduce the dependence on sales teams to drive customer acquisition and retention. They rely on product virality and customer advocacy to gain a foothold in enterprise organizations before expanding from within.

It doesn’t mean, however, that PLG companies don’t need sales or marketing teams. Even the most successful PLG organizations use a combination of both PLG and sales tactics in what we call product-led sales.

This is particularly the case in the enterprise software context.

What are the challenges of PLG for enterprise companies?

You will often hear that product-led growth and enterprise companies don’t go together.

While it’s a massive exaggeration, there are a couple of reasons why implementing PLG for enterprise products can be tricky.

Enterprise products are hard to experience and explain

In product-led growth, users explore the product independently through free trials or freemium. If the product delivers value and helps them achieve their goals in less time, they gradually adopt it and convert into paying customers.

The problem is that enterprise products are often more complex than solutions for small or medium-sized companies.

This means it’s more difficult for a person to discover what the product has to offer on their own, without help from a sales rep or customer success manager.

This reduces the ability of companies to use the product as the sole driver of customer acquisition.

Traditional enterprise sales are complex

In the enterprise sector, it’s not only the products but also the sales processes that are more complex.

For once, it’s rarely one individual who has the power to make purchasing decisions. More often than not, large organizations have to follow complex and lengthy decision-making processes with lots of back and forth between stakeholders.

There are also more regulations that they have to comply with, for example, data privacy, accessibility, or contract and procurement laws.

A dedicated sales team is often the only way to navigate the process and negotiate the deal.

Best practices for integrating PLG into the traditional enterprise model

Even though product-led growth may not be the most suitable for an enterprise business, you can still use many of the techniques to aid your sales team and deliver a better customer experience.

Offer multiple ways to experience the product

A freemium or free trial may not work if the product is complex or the end users don’t make the actual purchasing decisions.

This doesn’t mean that sales demos are the only way to explain the product value to potential customers. For example, you could create an interactive demo or provide demo content that allows users to simulate actual product usage and experience its value.

Offer a self-service experience wherever possible

If it works, the self-service model is always more cost-effective than traditional sales processes. That’s why it’s always worth trying to embed self-serve elements in your sales funnel whenever possible.

For example, if your sales team uses benchmarks to sell the product, you could develop a website or video resource that allows users to get familiar with the data on their own.

Or even if the company is not ready to make software purchases by credit card just yet, they might be happy to upgrade to a higher plan or add extra seats in this way.

You can also massively increase customer satisfaction and reduce costs by providing self-service support. Most users prefer not to talk to support agents if they don’t have to, so providing a knowledge base with product documentation is an easy win.

Leah Tharin: PLG for enterprise and complex products.

Create a personalized onboarding flow to activate new users

Once your users get inside the product, enterprise or not, it’s imperative that they quickly learn how to use it to achieve their goals.

To help them with that, invest in personalized onboarding experiences that focus on the key features relevant to their use cases.

When the user first logs into the product, ask individual users about their role in the company and objectives and trigger the right onboarding flow based on their responses.

Welcome survey
Welcome survey created in Userpilot.

Prompt in-app messages to boost feature discovery

Contextual in-app messages are a great tool for secondary onboarding.

That’s the stage when users are familiar with the basic features and are ready to explore more complex functionality. This could be existing features or ones that you’re only rolling out.

For example, if you know that a user hasn’t used a particular feature that could save them time and energy, you prompt them to try it the next time they’re performing a particular task.

Tooltip builder
Tooltip builder.

Remove friction points from the customer journey

In-app messages are also an effective way to remove friction from the user journey.

For example, if you know that lots of users fail to complete a task because they cannot find a feature on the dashboard, you can help them with a tooltip or hotspot.

How do you find friction points?

Start with funnel analysis to track their conversions from one stage of the journey to another. Once you pinpoint the stage in the journey where users get stuck, conduct a more detailed analysis with tools like session recordings or paths/journeys.

This will help you to identify not just the root cause of friction but also how successful users manage to overcome it. You can then use the insights to guide other users.

Funnel analysis
Funnel analysis in Userpilot.

Identify and target active users to increase expansion revenue

One way to increase customer lifetime value and stimulate revenue growth is through upsells.

In companies where the end users are also the decision-makers, this is fairly easy.

You simply target them with contextual upsell messages and watch them convert. For example, when the user reaches their usage limit, you throw in the lifeline – an opportunity to upgrade to a plan with a higher cap.

In enterprise companies, it may require a bit more creativity but it’s not possible. By tracking product usage, you can easily identify the power users within the organization.

If you manage to convince them about the additional value that higher plans can deliver, they might become your champions within the organization and lobby for the upgrade from the inside.

Upsell message
Upsell message created in Userpilot.

Collect and act on customer feedback to retain them

Collecting customer feedback is essential for improving your product and retaining customers, regardless of their size.

SaaS companies have the advantage over other industries that they can easily reach their customers with in-app surveys.

Such surveys are straightforward to create and you can use them to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.

For example, you can trigger regular surveys to track such metrics as NPS or CES and follow up with open-ended questions to gather more in-depth insights about the ‘why’ behind the scores.

In-app survey
In-app survey created in Userpilot.

Examples of successful enterprise product-led growth companies

Now that we know how you can embed PLG strategies to aid enterprise software sales, let’s look at a few examples of SaaS companies that have successfully managed to do it.

SEON creates a personalized customer experience

Companies used to believe that fraud prevention software was too complex for the PLG model. And then came SEON and showed that it was possible.

One PLG tactic that they use is personalization of the customer experience.

When the user logs into the product for the first time, a welcome survey pops out. It asks users about their objectives and uses the information to personalize their onboarding and dashboard.

PLG for Enterprise: SEON welcome survey
PLG for Enterprise: SEON welcome survey.

Userpilot activates users with an onboarding checklist

Checklists are one of the most effective ways to activate users, and that’s exactly why Userpilot uses them at the initial stage of the user journey.

The checklist consists of just 4 tasks – not to overwhelm the users and introduce only the key features.

For example, the first task is downloading the Chrome extension, which is essential to use other Userpilot features like tagging features.

PLG for Enterprise: Userpilot checklist
PLG for Enterprise: Userpilot checklist.

Airtable increases feature discovery with tooltips

Airtable is a cloud-based collaboration platform that allows teams to collectively create and manage databases.

Although it boasts a user-friendly interface, it’s a fairly complex product with tons of features.

To help users discover the features that they need to complete their tasks, it prompts in-app guidance in the form of contextual tooltips. As soon as you hover over a feature, a tooltip explaining its purpose appears.

PLG for Enterprise: Airtable tooltip
PLG for Enterprise: Airtable tooltip.

Zoho CRM provides in-app support to retain users

Zoho CRM is a customer relationship management (CRM) and customer data platform designed to help businesses manage their customer interactions, sales processes, and customer support in an organized and efficient way.

How do they handle support for their own customers?

Through in-app support. Users get access to a chatbot that provides them with trouble-shooting guidance. This reduces the risk of users giving up and churning.

PLG for Enterprise: Zoho in-app support
PLG for Enterprise: Zoho in-app support.

Jira collects feedback for product improvements via an in-app survey

Jira is an enterprise-level project management tool from Atlassian and it’s used widely in software development.

To collect customer feedback and requests, Jira uses in-app surveys.

These are triggered at regular intervals to track metrics like NPS and contextually to collect insights about particular aspects of the product experience.

For example, when a user completes an action, a quick survey pops out to ask them about their experience while it’s still fresh in their mind.

PLG for Enterprise: Jira survey
PLG for Enterprise: Jira survey.

How can Userpilot help enterprise companies become product-led?

Userpilot is an onboarding platform used by enterprise companies to boost product adoption and growth.

How can traditionally sales-led companies use it to up their PLG game?

For starters, Userpilot offers advanced analytics features that allow you to make data-driven product decisions. These include:

On top of that, Userpilot allows you to collect user feedback at scale through in-app surveys. This requires little effort thanks to the template library which includes industry-standard surveys like NPS, CSAT, PMF, or CES.

Finally, there’s the engagement layer that you can use for user onboarding and in-app guidance. It offers features like:

If you’d like to see how these work in practice, book a live demo.


Product-led growth and enterprise products don’t necessarily exclude each other.

While enterprise products may be more complex and the sales funnel more complicated, PLG tactics can still be used to enhance the product and deliver a better customer experience.

To see how Userpilot can help you do this, book the demo!

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